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By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(© 2017 Journal GlobaLinks

 

CHICAGO (JGL) – The bi-partisan chairs on human rights of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have urged President Trump to

take up concern for “human rights and democratic values” and “extra-judicial killings” on the war on drugs with President Duterte and other Asian leaders Mr. Trump will meet in his ongoing visit to Asia. 

Congressmen Randy Hultgren (R-14-IL) and James P. McGovern (D-2-MA), Co-Chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, have released Tuesday (Nov. 7) a letter they sent to President Trump, urging him to use his upcoming meeting with Philippines’ President Duterte as an opportunity to express the United States’ profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government’s “war on drugs.”

 ACTIVE LISTENER:

REP. RANDY HULTGREN (R-14-IL) (left) listens as Jerry Clarito, co-convenor of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance of Illinois, explains the need for Congress to pass S. 1055 “Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics 
Act of 2017” to  restrict “defense articles or defense services to be exported from the U.S. to the Philippines for enforcement, riot control or related purposes to the Philippine National Police,” which have been accused of committing summary killings or extra-judicial killings (EJK’s) in carrying out Mr. Duterte’s bloody war on drugs that has claimed 7,000 people as of Jan. 31, 2017, quoting Amnesty International report. Photo was taken on Oct. 23, 2017 inside Mr. Hultgren’s office in the Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (JGL Photo by MARLON L. PECSON) 


Hultgren and McGovern’s letter said, Mr. Trump should use his upcoming meeting with Philippines’ President Duterte as an opportunity to express the United States’ profound concern over reported extra-judicial killings associated with the Philippine government’s “war on drugs.” The letter notes that a Commission hearing earlier this year included strong evidence that police have killed 7,000 alleged drug dealers and users without charges or trial since the Philippine government launched its campaign against illicit drugs.

The Co-Chairs request that just as the President will reaffirm to President Duterte the United States’ unwavering commitment to the Philippines, he should also reaffirm the United States' commitments to fundamental human rights, including due process, and the rule of law. 

"PLEASE PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS VALUES":

SENATOR THOM TILLIS (R-N.C.), Co-Chair of the U.S. Senate Human Rights Caucus, has written President Trump to promote the United States’ commitment to human rights and democratic values during his meetings with President Xi Jinping in China, President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam, and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. (Senator Tillis’ website)


“We certainly recognize the strategic importance of maintaining our strong partnership with the Philippines, especially amid rising tensions in the region over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and Chinese territorial sovereignty issues involving the South China Sea.  At the same time, we believe the United States must remain a champion of human rights, due process, and the rule of law,” they said.

According to the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2016 by the Department of State, there has been a significant increase in the number of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to the recent increase as an “appalling epidemic.” 

“At a Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing earlier this year, we were distressed to learn that police have killed 7,000 alleged drug dealers and users without charges or trial since the Philippine government launched its campaign against illicit drugs,” they added. 

HE WANTS TO GET THE PRESIDENT'S ATTENTION: 

SENATOR CHRIS COONS (D-Del.), Co-Chair of the U.S. Senate Human Rights Caucus, has written President Trump to promote the United States’ commitment to human rights and democratic values during his meetings with President Xi Jinping in China, President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam, and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. (Senator Coons’ website)


On the other hand, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, released the following statement concerning President Trump’s trip to Asia, “President Trump is in the midst of a trip to Asia with several important goals, including addressing the threat of North Korea’s nuclear program and promoting U.S. exports throughout the region.  We have been pleased to see the President reaffirm our economic and security partnerships with our allies in Japan and South Korea.  In the coming days, the President will also visit China, Vietnam, and the Philippines – three countries that fail to respect the human rights of all their citizens. 

"In China, activists are detained and the political opposition is silenced.  In Vietnam, basic rights such as freedom of the press and freedom of religion are restricted.  In the Philippines, a 'war on drugs' has resulted in over 7,000 deaths, many via unlawful executions and extrajudicial killings.  As co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, we urge President Trump to raise these human rights concerns and to promote the United States’ commitment to human rights and democratic values during his meetings with President Xi Jinping in China, President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam, and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines. The United States must continue to stand up for the oppressed around the world.”

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